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2 ANTIQUE TRADER www.AntiqueTrader.com • April 10, 2019
Steve Evans
Once upon a time and not too many years ago, wearing a belt
and buckle was part of normal attire – especially for men who
might be thought of as country bumpkins if they wore suspenders
instead of a belt. ose daily-wearers knew a belt only lasts for a
certain number of years, but the metal buckle could be used inde-
nitely and outlast the owner’s life. Heck, belt buckles are dug out of
the ground at Civil War battle sites and still look pretty good.
Being long-lasting and having a practical use made the belt
buckle ideal for use as awards, and in many cases a better choice
than the traditional trophy or medal. e recipient could wear
the buckle with pride as proof of an accomplishment, or if he or
she didn’t want to be a show-o, could stash the buckle away as a
Oen an award buckle represents a milestone in the recipi-
ent’s life, as with Richard West, who drove one million miles for
Transport Service Company. Or it may be an award for a fun event
which seemed to be a lark at the time, as with Judy Cullen’s chili
cook-o award. It’s amazing how many dierent styles of award
buckles have been produced, and if you know the story behind the
buckle, its all the better.
If someone is going to receive recognition for a Herculean ef-
fort and the award is a belt buckle, it better be a dandy. Such was
the case with Chase Squires of Denver, Colorado and his massive
(almost half pound) “Heartland 100” buckle awarded to him on
October 15, 2006. Chase ran for one day and one night through
the prairies of eastern Kansas to nish the 100 mile footrace with a
time of 25 hours 7 minutes.
“Most 100 mile races give belt buckles as a nisher’s medal,
Chase said. “As you become exhausted and sleep deprived, your
mind starts to play tricks on you. e buckle becomes the most
important thing on the planet. It’s called ‘buckle fever.’ It’s all you
want. Get. e. Buckle.
Award buckles pay tribute to personal feats
inscribed with the name
“Judy.” Won by Judy
Cullen on March 16,
1991 at Lake Elsinore
Marina’s 1st Annual
Chili Cook-Off in Lake
Elsinore, California.
Judy’s team won
1st place with their
“J.C.’s Hot Temper’d
Irish Chili.” This solid
brass buckle was made
by Award Design Medals of
Nobel, Oklahoma and measures 3 ½” x 2 5/8”.
“SAFETY AWARD” buckle.
Transport Service Company
gave this award to its
employee, Richard West,
of Whitestown, Indiana
for driving more than
1,000,000 miles without
an accident. This 3-D
buckle displays a terrific
likeness of a Mack R600
tanker truck – What an
attention getter! Belt-side
reads “Made exclusively
for Transport Service Co
Safety Program” and
“Made In U.S.A.” This
buckle weighs a solid ¼
pound and measures 3
1/2” x 2 ¼”.
All images courtesy of Steve Evans
THE PRAIRIE belt buckle
awarded to Chase
Squires on October 15,
2006 for completing
the 100 mile ultra
marathon held in
eastern Kansas. Chase
finished with a time
of 25 hours 7 minutes.
This beautiful gold
and silver-plated buckle
shows the race name and
depicts a buffalo
grazing on prairie
grass. Belt-side
reads “Sponsored
by Kansas
Society” with
brand name of
Creative Castings.
This buckle
weighs 6.6 ounces
and measures
4 ½” x 3 3/8”.
MILER buckle awarded
to Chase Squires on
October 7, 2007 for
running the 100 mile
course in the Ouachita
Mountains of Arkansas.
Chase finished with
a time of 28 hours 34
minutes. The front of the
buckle depicts a runner
in the forest zipping past
a big oak tree and several
cedars. Belt-side reads
“This buckle custom cast
for a competitor who has
successfully completed
the Arkansas 100.” It was
made by Creative Castings
of Denison, Texas and
measures 3 ¼” x 2 3/8”.
April 10, 2019 • www.AntiqueTrader.com • ANTIQUE TRADER 3
An ultramarathon is any race longer than the standard 26.2
mile marathon. Over a 12-year period, Chase Squires ran in 27
ultramarathons. On October 8, 2007 he was awarded the “Arkan-
sas Traveller” buckle for running 100 miles through the Ouachita
Mountains of Arkansas. Chase recalls it was very hot and humid.
“Halfway through the race, the aid stations looked like MASH
units, bodies everywhere, people were just wiped out.” Chase at-
tributes his slower time of 28 hours 34 minutes to the tough condi-
tions, and notes how only 66 runners nished out of 140 starters.
e logo used on the Arkansas Traveller buckle came about in
1991 when the rst annual race was being planned. e design was
drawn from two inspirational pictures, a scene in the Ouachita
Mountains and the most dominant ultra runner of the day, Ann
e good looks and nice size of the the Arkansas Traveller 100
buckle makes it an ideal choice to wear daily. Someone who doesn’t
wear belt buckles might think the AT100 is large, but take a look at
the Ragnar Trail Relays 2015 buckle (6” x 3 5/8”) which is too big
to be worn comfortably. It’s ne to wear while standing upright,
but when you bend forward far enough the buckle will jab even the
most slim runners abdomen.
Another extra-large buckle is the 1983 “Cactus Country Clas-
sic” buckle won by Mike Drennan of Arizona. It’s a big beauty,
measuring 6 ½” x 4 ¾, and is the largest buckle shown in this
article. Mike Drennan won over 70 belt buckles in his career as
a top horseman. As a young man he won rodeo buckles in bare-
back riding, saddle-bronc riding, bull riding, calf roping and steer
wrestling. As Mike grew older he started judging at rodeos and
horse shows, which led to him training and showing horses, and
winning more buckles.
Note the 1959 buckle awarded to Mike for bronc riding at a
rodeo in Wichita, Kansas. It’s a classic rodeo buckle complete with
the name of the rodeo, the year, and the champion’s name. It has
buckle awarded on
August 29, 2015 to
members of team
“Undertrained and
Overconfident” for
finishing 1st place
in the Ultra Mixed
Submasters Division
on the Angel Fire Trail
in New Mexico.
Members of the
eight-person coed
team ran 15 miles
each to complete
the 120 mile course
with a time of 24
hours 9 minutes.
This very large
buckle measures 6”
x 3 5/8” and has a
built-in bottle opener for celebrating after the race.
FILLY trophy
buckle awarded to
Mike Drennan of
Phoenix, Arizona,
for putting his
horse through
the required
maneuvers at
this quarter
horse show. This
fabulous buckle is
made of German
silver with bronze
lettering, banners
and bronze rope
edging, and
measures 6 ½” x 4 ¾”.
WHICITA 1959 trophy
buckle awarded to the
rodeo’s champion bronc
rider, Mike Drennan. This
rodeo buckle has classic
1950s styling with the
name of the rodeo, the
year, and the champion’s
name. Belt-side shows
it was made by Ricardo
and is made of nickel
silver with bronze trim
and measures 4 ¼” x 3”.
1964 HEINZ buckle presented to George E. Pendleton. This
buckle was awarded for 25 years of service (1939 – 1964)
although George actually worked for Heinz until he retired in
1978. This 12K gold-plated buckle is very attractive with its
raised Heinz ketchup bottle against a background of horizontal
lines. The belt-side is engraved with the initials “G. E. P.” and
“39-64” and shows the brand name of Balfour. Measurements
are 1 5/8” x 1 1/8”.
award presented
to Leo Anderson
of Oakland,
California who
defeated Tommy
Flores for the AAU
championship in the
126 pound weight
class of the Pacific
Association Region.
Belt-side shows the
buckle was made
of “granat sterling”
with an “Automatic Giant Grip” logo and patent number
1272208. It was made in U.S.A. and measures 2 7/8” x 1 7/8”.
4 ANTIQUE TRADER www.AntiqueTrader.com • April 10, 2019
a bronze cowboy on a bucking horse, two bronze wild roses and
bronze rope around the buckle’s edge, all on a buckle made of nickel
A rodeo buckle will oen have information on the back telling
what it is made of, common are German silver and nickel silver. It’s
interesting that neither contain real silver. German silver and nickle
silver are two names for the same thing: a mix of copper, zinc and
nickel. e most expensive rodeo buckles were made of sterling sil-
ver which is 92.5% real silver and 7.5% copper.
One of the smallest buckles in today’s article is the 1964 Heinz
buckle measuring 1 5/8” x 1 1/8”. It was a 25 years of service award
given to George E. Pendleton who was the Heinz district sales man-
ager for Maryland, Virginia and the DC area. George’s son Jack re-
calls “Dad sold train box cars lled with ketchup, beans, baby food,
soup, relish, and pickles. He would take me with him to set up some
of the displays in local stores, something as a child you never forget.
He was a true salesman, and knew everyone by name. He slept, ate
and breathed H. J. Heinz. He was a devout company man, a trait and
loyalty that is hard to come by today.”
Every award buckle is beautiful to the recipient, but some are
truly stunning. Take a moment to check out the 1951 AAU boxing
buckle. is design shows two boxers duking it out while Nike (the
Greek goddess of strength, speed and victory) is oating down into
the boxing ring preparing to lay a wreath of laurel leaves on the vic-
tor’s head. is championship bout took place on March 16, 1951
at the Winterland Auditorium in San Francisco. e winner of this
buckle was Leo Anderson of Oakland, California who defeated
Tommy Flores for the AAU Pacic Association Championship’s 126
pound weight class. A.A.U. Stands for Amateur Athletic Union.
Because Leo had won the AAU featherweight title, he was sent
in April, 1951 to represent his region at the AAU National Boxing
Tournament at Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts where he
presented to John F.
Squire for best bowling
analysis in foreign
matches. The bowling
analysis refers to the
bowler’s stats which
include overs, maidens,
runs conceded and
number of wickets taken.
The Kensington Cricket
Club was founded in
1871 in South Australia
and is still operating
today. This buckle is made of heavy brass with a thick silver
plating, and has an old-style belt attachment. It measures
2 5/8” x 2 1/8”.
DODGE safety
award for working
in a company mine
with no serious
injuries or deaths. The front of the buckle shows a sentinel
with a torch and a shield that reads “For Greater Safety.” Belt-
side reads “Phelps Dodge Corporation 1928 Proficiency In
Safety” and shows this buckle was made of sterling silver by
S.D. Childs & Co of Chicago. The latching mechanism shows
the brand name Deluxe Giant Grip and has patent dates of
12/13/21 and 10/12/26. This buckle measures 1 9/16” x 1
7/16” and was found using a metal detector in Three Sands,
Oklahoma (a ghost town 3 miles south of Tonkawa).
1965 MERCURY 25
award presented to
Paul M. Baurle who
began working for
Kiekhaefer Mercury
Company in 1940.
Paul eventually
became one of the
company’s executives
and finally retired from Mercury Marine in the late
1970’s. This gold-plated buckle displays the Kiekhaefer
Mercury logo with three small diamonds and shows the
number “25.” Belt-side reads “1-20 12K,” shows the
“Balfour” brand name and measures 1 5/8” x 1 1/8”.
1983 BOWHUNTING buckle was awarded to
Warren Groves who placed 1st in the barebow
division at a National Field Archery Association
tournament held in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Belt-side reads “Bowhunting is a demanding
sport of skill and patience. The skills required
in bowhunting far exceed those of other
hunting sports. To be a bowhunter is to be a
true sportsman.” This buckle was designed by
Siskiyou and manufactured by Bergamot. It’s
made of pewter and measures 3 ½” x 2 3/8”.
WINNER buckle awarded
for finishing 1st place in the
Indiana Sesquicentennial
Crew Regatta held at Lake
Maxinkuckee on May 14,
1966. The nine-man crew
(8 oarsmen & 1 coxwain)
from Marietta High School,
Ohio, finished the one-mile
course in 5 minutes 16
seconds, just 5 seconds ahead of Culver
Military Academy, the crew who hosted the event. This buckle
is made of brass and measures 2 ¼” x 1 ½”.
April 10, 2019 • www.AntiqueTrader.com • ANTIQUE TRADER 5
made it to the quarternals before being eliminated. Five weeks
later, and back in California, Leo debuted as a professional
ghter, and won his rst bout by knocking out his opponent in
the rst round. Leo Andersons professional boxing career lasted
from 1951 through 1962 with a record of 5 wins and 7 losses.
Till my trophies at last I lay down,” is a line from the gos-
pel song e Old Rugged Cross. What does happen to an award
buckle when the original recipient dies? e recipient may have let
it go when downsizing to get his or her house in order, but most are
inherited by next of kin. If the buckle is known to be important, it
may stay in the family for one more generation.
One way or another, award buckles end up on the market and
most don’t come with the story behind them. Luckily some have
the information of who, when and where located on the buckle.
ese are the most desirable.
Sometimes information on the buckle is misconstrued by
the new owner. Take a look at the 1888 buckle. is 131 year-old
buckle has old-English script which makes it dicult to read. e
reseller pointed out how the wording of “best bonding analysis”
and “foreign matches” appears to make this an award for an em-
ployee who produced matches at a chemical company. e author
of this article bought this buckle and was temporarily on-board
with the story. It turned out the inscription didn’t read “bonding
analysis,” but instead “bowling analysis” and Kensington C.C. is
a cricket club. Great, that’s even better!
If you are the actual recipient of an award buckle you should
consider writing a brief “who, when & where” note to keep
with the buckle. If you were not lucky enough to be
presented with such an award, go ahead and buy one,
maybe a champion bull riding buckle. But PLEASE, tell
the truth when someone asks if you actually won it at
a rodeo.
Steve Evans is an avid belt buckle collector in Arkansas. He has
more than 600 buckles in his collection, including 195 award
buckles as seen in this article. Steve has never actually won an
award buckle, but he has received a few trophies from playing
at volleyball tournaments. Steve is a serious volleyball player
and hopes to bring home a medal this summer when he plays at
the USAV Nationals in Columbus, Ohio, albeit the 60 & over age
Steve is best know for being an authority on guitars stencil-
painted with cowboy and Western images as sold by Sears and
Montgomery Ward circa 1930’s - 1950’s. He co-authored the book
called “Cowboy Guitars,” published in 2002, which is now the bible
amongst cowboy guitar collectors.
You can reach Steve at Jacksonville Guitar Center, 1105 Burman
Dr., Jacksonville, AR 72076; jvilguitar@aol.com, Shop/Guitar
Museum hours are Tue.-Sat., 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.
Circa 1985 AMOCO
Belt Buckle.
This buckle
was awarded
to David J.
who worked
as a stationary
engineer in the
83-floor Amoco
Building in downtown Chicago. David was in
charge of the boiler room and received this buckle
for working safely and without injuries. This solid
pewter buckle was made by Indiana Metal Craft
and measures 3 ¾” x 2 3/8”.
Beautiful detailing shows
a road grader working under a bridge with nearby trees, two
big sunflowers and banners reading “Kansas, Jewell County
Highway Department.” Belt-side reads: “#23 of 100 limited
edition. Started January 1, 1947, Jewell County Highway
Department currently maintains over 1500 miles of roads and
nearly 400 bridges. This buckle is awarded to Dean Buster for
10 years of faithful and dedicated service to Jewell County.”
Designed by Siskiyou and made by Bergamot, this pewter
buckle measures 3 1/16” x 2 5/16”.
Mayan Calendar buckle,
belt-side inscribed:
“Trail of Fears, Dec
22, 2012, Run it Fast,
Jackson, TN.” Travis
Redden was awarded
this buckle for running
through the Tennessee
hills in this all-day race.
The race began at
7:00 am in 19 degree
temperature and
continued late into
the night with Travis
finishing 2nd place and completing 64.5 miles.
The attached belt acts like a medal ribbon and is
made from a material resembling an old-fashion
potato sack. This buckle shows a brand name of
Jean’s Friend and measures 3” across.
1989 GUNSMOKE buckle given to pilots
and ground crew participating in the
USAF Worldwide Fighter Gunnery
Meet held at Nellis Air Force Base
in Las Vegas, Nevada. The buckle’s
image shows the likeness of four
airplanes: the A-7 Corsair, A-10
Warthog, F-4 Phantom and F-16
Falcon, all involved in the strafing
and bombing competition. Top pilots
and ground crews from bases all over
the world were present to compete in
this two week event and to see who would
be the Top Gun and Top Team. This round
brass belt buckle measures 2 3/8” across.
6 ANTIQUE TRADER www.AntiqueTrader.com • April 10, 2019
1975 BOEING buckle presented to John Grosso who worked
at Boeing’s plants in Everett and Seattle, Washington. The
artwork shows a Boeing 747 jet and a bi-plane flying above
the clouds and reads: “Boeing, getting people together.” Belt-
side inscribed to “John Grosso, manufacturing- tool services
supervisor of the quarter, 2nd quarter 1975.” This buckle is
made of aluminum and measures 3 3/8” x 2 3/16”.
1978 NASSCO safety award presented to employees of the
National Steel and Shipbuilding Company for safely building the
San Diego Class tankers. One of these 67 million dollar ships
is beautifully displayed on this buckle. It’s the “B.T. San Diego”
which was launched and christened in 1978. Produced from
1978 through 1980, a total of four identical ships were built:
two for Shell Oil Company and two for the Atlantic Richfield
Company which used them to transport oil from Alaska to a
refinery in Long Beach, California. Belt-side shows a life saver
encircling the words “safety award” and gives the tanker’s
specifications. This pewter buckle measures 3 9/16” x 2 ½”.
buckle with a skyline
of New York City.
During this period
Walmart’s award
buckles were
available with an
artist’s rendering
of cities that
pertained to the
driver’s route. This
particular buckle was
made before September
11, 2001, because the scene
includes the World Trade
Center Twin Towers. Note
how the Wal-Mart name is
spelled with a star instead of a
hyphen, as was the company’s
logo during 1992 – 2008. This
buckle is made of solid brass and measures 3 3/16” x 2 ¼”.
buckle awarded to Craig
Eubanks for winning
the bull riding contest
at a rodeo in Mulvane,
Kansas on Saturday, July
2, 1977. The local newspaper
reported that after his victory
Craig said “When I knew that I had
drawn Omen, a big Brahma bull, I was pretty nervous.” The
15-year old Craig turned his nervousness into heroic effort
and was rewarded with this buckle and $217.50. He also
won bull riding events the same year at rodeos in Pratt,
Augusta, and Protection, Kansas. Belt-side is engraved
OMEN 7-2-77 and shows a brand name of LTC Western
Prod. Co © 1974. This chrome-plated buckle is substantial
in weight and measures 3 ¾” x 2 ¾”.
TECHNICIAN belt buckle
awarded to Steve Brunies
in 1980 for completing
training while working as
an automotive refinisher
at Bryan Chevrolet in
Metaire, Louisiana. Steve
was known as one of the
best painters in the state
and painted many cars
for politicians, musicians, and famous people in the New
Orleans area. He also painted many dragsters and race cars
that ran on the NHRA national circuit. This buckle is made
of pewter with a brass triangle insert on the front. Belt-side
shows the brand name of R. J. Roberts & Co, Rochester,
Mich. Made in U.S.A. and measures 3 ¼” x 2 ½”.
awarded to Charles Koontz
of Columbus, Indiana on
June 5, 1977. Charlie
won this boat race as a
“junior” (15 years old or
younger) with a speed
of 29.681 mph, which
seems more like 129
mph when driving one
of the small craft used in
the Junior Modified Runabout
class. The race was sponsored
by the American Power Boat Association and took place on
the Fox River in Kaukauna, Wisconsin. This buckle is made of
brass and measures 3 ½” x 2 ½”.
1942 BOWLING award
presented to Louis
Schiappacasse Jr for
being the 1941 – 1942
season champ of the
ICTL (league initials).
This buckle is adorned
with eagles on the left
and right, and in the
middle is a bowling ball
knocking down pins.
There is also a small
“Knights of Columbus”
emblem attached to the lower front. This gold-plated buckle
was made by Giant Grip and measures 2” x 1 ½”.
April 10, 2019 • www.AntiqueTrader.com • ANTIQUE TRADER 7
SANTA FE RAILROAD safety award
buckle shows a freight train coming right at you. The artisan
who sculpted the scene for the buckle did an excellent job in
showing Santa Fe’s locomotive number 5902, which was in
service from 1970 through 1983. It had a 20-cylinder 3,600
horsepower engine which could reach speeds of 80 mph. And
what a novel idea to have train tracks encircling the buckle’s
edge. Belt-side reads: “In recognition for working safely.” This
buckle is made of pewter and measures 3 11/16” x 2 ½”.
ROW was an award
given to the bowler
who rolled eleven
consecutive strikes in
one game, but scored
297 or less during
an ABC sanctioned
league or tournament.
This buckle was
presented to Richard
Zalocka in Frankfort, New York, who bowled a score of 290
on January 15, 1978. The buckle’s front shows the American
Bowling Congress name and the likeness of a score card
proving eleven strikes in a row. This solid brass buckle
measures 2 5/8” x 1 11/16”.
from a contest held
at the Philadelphia
Park Race Track in
Bensalem, PA. The
belt-side reads: “The
1987 Horseshoe
Pitching Contest is
proudly sponsored by
Western Wearhouse
and commemorated by this buckle, a limited edition of 250
with the awards to the event winners.” This buckle is gold
plated / silver plated and was made by Award Design Medals
of Nobel, Oklahoma and measures 4” x 3”.
presented to main
event winners at
the Napa County
Fairgrounds race
track in Calistoga,
California. The buckle
reads “I won at
Calistoga Speedway,
home of the NARC
Sprints.” This half-
mile dirt track is known for sprint cars hitting 100 mph
down the stretches. N.A.R.C. stands for Northern
Auto Racing Club. This brass buckle was made by Hit
Line USA and measures 3 1/8” x 2 1/16”.
“1” year award given
by the Coca-Cola
Bottling Company of
the Southwest to an
employee at the plant
in Abilene, Texas. No
information is shown on
the belt-side. This buckle
is substantial in weight and
measures 3 7/16” x 2 9/16”.
belt buckle. This
buckle was awarded
to workers at the
River King Coal Mine
#6, but reflects the
safety record for the
whole state of Illinois
who employed
18,148 workers in
the mining industry and had no mining related deaths in
1981. The belt-side shows this solid bronze buckle was made
by Advanced Castings of Albuquerque, New Mexico with a
serial number of 083 and measures 3 ¾” x 2 ½”.
1989 belt buckle given
to employees at the
Kellogg’s plant in
Memphis, Tennessee.
Very attractive buckle
with an artist rendition
of Tony the Tiger,
Toucan Sam and
Kellogg’s office located
on Frisco Avenue. Belt-
side reads “A tradition
since 1958. Proud of
what we do and how
we do it. Proud of our
people and our superior
quality products. Proud
of our tradition and
our part in Kellogg’s
heritage.” This pewter
buckle is surprisingly
heavy and measures
3 1/4” x 2 3/8”.
buckle, Houchin
Community Blood Bank
Member inscribed to Don
Ingalls and shows he
was a 4 gallon member.
Information shown on
the belt-side is the BTS
brand, Made In U.S.A.,
Solid Brass and © 1978.
This buckle measures
3 ½” x 2 ½”.